Exploring the Early Days of Summerland

The Summerland Museum & Archives Society takes us back to the origins of the townsite in 1908. At that time, the town was developed on the lakeshore, now known as Lower Town. The Summerland Development Company, established by Sir Thomas Shaughnessy in 1902, ensured that the town had essential facilities such as water, septic tanks, electricity, a school, and a sawmill.

Summerland was a pioneer in many ways. It became the first town in the Okanagan to enjoy electricity, starting in 1907. Telephone service was also introduced in the same year. The museum shared a photo that showcased the businesses thriving along the lakeshore during that era.

The picture captured the expanding Smith’s Wharf, built to accommodate the growing number of travelers. The offices of the CPR were located there as well. Another notable building was the Summerland Supply Company, constructed in 1902. It served as the one-stop-shop for the town’s necessities. This wooden structure was later moved to become an annex of the Summerland Hotel in 1911. In its place, the brick-clad Empire Hall was built for hosting various events.

The prominent white building on the left side of the wharf was the Summerland Hotel. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by fire in 1925, after operating for over 20 years. Adjacent to the hotel were the Methodist Church and Manse, situated on a small hill. On the far right side of the photo, we can see the Post Office, built in 1902, and the neighboring bank.

Many of the businesses in the town were located along Shaughnessy Avenue, now known as Lakeshore Drive. Today, if you were to recreate this view, you would see the Summerland Yacht Club on the left, the Trout Hatchery, and the new Oasis development on the right.

The Summerland Museum & Archives Society regularly shares photos and information from their archives every week on social media for Throwback Thursday.